Monthly Archives: December 2011
I’ll start on Monday.
After the holiday…
Yep, that’s when I’ll start.
A certain author (who I’m stunned gets shelf space in a Christian bookstore) has a book out about making everyday a Friday.
Generally, we look forward to Friday, and dread Monday.
It seems to go back to the whole idea that we don’t like to work, we like recreation… and rest… and freedom of the weekends. We desire this false “heaven on earth” experience. We dread the monotony of the work week, and the necessity of it all.
But what if we just enjoyed each day for what it was?
What if we looked forward to each day with fervor and excitement? A chance to do better and serve Him?
What if instead of waiting for a specific day to start something, you just made today the day vs. withholding the blessing from yourself?
It defeats the purpose of starting something new, if we’re only planning to sabotage ourselves right out of the gate. Don’t wait until Monday, so you can be a glutton on the weekend.
Real lasting change starts with a heart transformation. Pray and ask Him to fill you with the desire you need to change NOW!
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness,
and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14
The dust is settling here… as busy hands read new books, build new projects, and organize their” stuff”.
I’m able to come to terms with throwing out a few more things in attempt to organize all of the junk 8 children seem to accumulate. In all seriousness, our families do not go overboard with our kids… and we are grateful. They often get educational items, books, things that engage their mind, or that they can use to bless others! We also personally keep things from getting out of control by only buying our children 3 gifts from Mom and Dad – one of which they trade names and buy for one another. It’s a good lesson in thinking of others, and gift buying with a budget.
This year however, I read a blog that deeply touched my heart. Through my tears, I shared it with the kids one morning during school. Since we were late on drawing names and choosing gifts for each other this year, I suggested taking that budget to pick out some things for other kids… who needed necessities to live. Eager to browse through the options, they all thought it was fabulous idea – and off we went to shop our catalog, choosing items for someone in another country. At first they were disappointed that we couldn’t send it to the child we sponsor through World Vision, but quickly got over that when we discussed how MANY people don’t have simple things like clean water to drink or a bed to sleep in. It’s sometimes hard for even ME to realize what that looks and feels like.
Normally we don’t talk much about giving. It’s because of the convictions we have on Matthew 6:3. We think when we feel called to do something – God knows, and He is the only one that needs to know. So when we do things to serve others, we just make a choice and a point to NOT bring it up – especially to others it doesn’t deal with directly. [It’s actually fun to keep it a total secret if possible]. In the past, it was really easy to get into the habit of self promoting, or taking ownership in something God has done. You know the drill, someone says they took a meal to so-and-so, then YOU feel like you need to say that you ALSO did the same… or explain why you didn’t. Clearly, to me anyway, anything we’re able to do go, give or share – is because of His gifts. He’s the only one who has the right to keep score. He created us, for His purposes… Taking “credit” for that – to me, is not giving credit where it’s due, and our accountability is always to Him.
I felt that it would he safe to discuss a little bit of this here – because it doesn’t affect anyone you all might personally know… and you now know my heart on the issue – it’s not to say, “Look at me, I’m so great.” Because I realize, I am nothing without Him.
Since we were convicted of that particular verse – we have taken some heat sometimes. I think it’s easy to assume if you can’t SEE someone giving, and quantify it – then they must be selfish or not care about anyone but themselves. Some people want to KNOW we’ve been giving, and challenge us to prove it by questioning us, or offering suggestions on ways we could give. If there are things “like that” – where it’s a pressure situation, we make a POINT to not give in that way – but rather in another more discreet way. Above all, God knows – and that’s what matters. You are accountable to Him, and you need not worry about what others are doing – if you’re doing what you are being called and led to.
All of this said to help us refocus. Maybe you got off track this past month… with a busy schedule, and lack of meal planning. Maybe you indulged a bit too much at various parties or work or slacked off on the workouts or drinking the water you know your body needs. I pray you are able to give of yourself to God, as we close our 2011… and prepare for an exciting NEW YEAR. Think of what He wants for your body, soul and spirit and maybe write a few things down this week [during the picking up, putting away, and quiet time – quiet time? WHO has that?? You must MAKE IT!], some goals if you will. What could you give up this next year that isn’t helping you be healthy for Him? What could you make a step in His direction to increase your health benefits? I’m not talking about half-way resolutions that expire at the end of the month. I’m talking making changes that will help your lifestyle, things you can stick with for your lifetime… through His power and grace.
He has given so much. Give Him all of yourself.
“And He would answer and say to them, ‘The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.’ “ – Luke 3:11
I often hear people say, “I don’t know how you do it, I could never do that.”
It’s often in regards to having several children close together, or home schooling… or even losing weight, exercising regularly or any other type thing people categorize as “super powers” or “self-control”.
Trust me. I’m not full of super powers, nor do I possess some extra dose of self-control.
I’m going to tell you a little secret…
I could never do ________ on my own either.
It’s really not by my own strength and might I *DO* anything.
The difference, is His strength, and seeking His will for my life.
When we first considered being more educated about what we were putting in our mouths… I almost didn’t want to know.
I take that back. I didn’t want to know at all.
I liked the comfort of not having limits on what I ate.
Who LIKES limits?
In a world of over indulging, and “never enough”… how could anyone possibly SEEK limits one things they LOVE to consume?
Actually, I think – deep down, we all do. I think as children we seek limits to know our parents love us, and are in charge of us… and as adults, we feel similarly. We want to know God has a purpose, and a plan… and that we matter to someone.
What we do, DOES matter.
We might want to believe that ignorance is bliss… but there will come a point – whether our health insists on us making a change. A heart attack, high blood sugar, anxiety attack, depression, cancer… it’s all grounds for making us take a hard long look at our life. OR we don’t have to experience those things at all… perhaps we are filled with His spirit to get healthy – through His word, when we realize = ignorance is just that. Lack of knowledge.
If we are sincerely in His word, and seeking His face in any matter… He will show us His will for us through conviction!
Are the cookies talking to you? Is your plate saying – do NOT fill me again? Listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit…
Praying you’re all enjoying this season as we celebrate the strength of our Savior! The One who always was, and always will be.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – 1 John 1:-5
[ I also hope you’re able to get a few more workouts in, or a few extra tough workouts… so you can enjoy a few of the fun treats floating about!] ** We finally did get our orders fulfilled from Bob Harper. I’m not sure whether or not to be THRILLED that they came, or crying for the pain I know he’s going to put me in. 🙂 I actually love Bob’s challenges – sick maybe, but I do!
Getting stronger for 2012!
We each make choices. Everyday we’re making choices.
You’re choosing what you put into your mouth, and if you’re going to chew it up and swallow it.
If you’re anything like me, your brain is now programmed to calculate calories into an exercise conversion rate.
It helps A LOT, because it makes me STOP. And think. BEFORE I consume.
Do I *really* want that… THAT badly? Because if I’m going to be consuming (however many calories or however many carbs, fat, or sodium) that food has… I want it to be worth it!!
Can I get an AMEN?
When Danna shared in her Scale Down book about not having to swallow food that we put into our mouths… (if it didn’t taste good, or we changed our mind… or for what ever reason…), it was very freeing. It help me be more aware about what foods even made it to my lips in the first place.
Personally, we battle this all of the time, but especially THIS time of year.
Many of our vendors of our stores send chocolates, cookies and various gift baskets. Friends make platters FULL of cookies, and yummy, sugar filled treats.
Where you can get into trouble… is “trying” a little of this or a dabble of that… over, and over… and OVER.
Ugh. Tummy ache?
Every calorie counts, and so a bunch of “taste testing” can really ADD UP quickly.
People don’t really wonder where those extra 10 lbs come from this time year… do they?
Those who want to share with you, and want you to try something new, or taste something “so good” – have good intentions…
You MUST have a plan.
We had one of our family Christmases this past weekend, and a wedding to attend.
This had the potential to be a disaster – healthier for Him-wise. There was a lot of great food, and I attempted to make the best choices I could…
At the family Christmas, the local BBQ place was catering. It’s great food, and I’m certain if I loved BBQ we’d eat it a lot more frequently. Since nothing green, nor any fruit was on the menu, I offered to bring a green leaf salad to share.
I passed on the white rolls. (The whiter the bread… the quicker you’re … _ _ _ _. No brainer for me.)
I passed on the potato salad. (While I don’t mind potato salad, I know it’s not a best or even better choice – so I just simply don’t eat it much because it’s not a ‘worth it’ food to me – thank you God!)
I passed on the cheese corn. (Again, extra cheesy veggies just don’t float my boat – and sauces are a major risk for my intestines, one not worth risking to me that day!)
Basically I ate salad, delicious smoked turkey and a tablespoon of baked beans. I also had a whole wheat sugar cookie. (I would much rather have the cookie vs. a roll – but that’s just me!) I mentioned the cookie was whole wheat – right? (that’s pretty much health food!)
The wedding was of a similar menu. BBQ sandwiches on a nice big WHITE bun, meat balls, crackers, chips. Snack foods, dips, and some veggies. I just had meat, some fruit, and veggies topped off with a small piece of cake with minimal frosting. It was just enough, and very tasty.
Some people assume we don’t eat sugar, or perhaps they’re confused at our rhyme or reason of our eating. I often see eyes looking our way… “what are they going to eat, or not eat? Why is she not eating a roll, but then eating a piece of cake?”
The answer? It’s all about choices.
The choices that work for me.
When offered things like chocolates, or fudge (things I really don’t care for), I don’t mean to rude in my response, but I just really hate to consume something I don’t desire to eat. It’s not worth it to me or to my health.
But, we’ve talked about this before – some people might not appreciate the changes you’ve made, and they don’t “get” what you’re doing…To others, eating something to “try” is no big deal… and having a “special” treat most of the time isn’t a big deal.
But to me? If it’s not something I WANT to try… then that is ok too. No one wants to feel bullied into eating something they don’t want to eat!
Honestly. Who is it really hurting? It’s food. We really need to lighten up about other people’s healthier choices, and let it go.
What is good for me, may not be good for you. What is worth it to me, might not be worth it to you. Make the “choice choices” for YOU, that glorify God in the body. The key is being EDUCATED about what is going in…
If you’d rather not have what is being offered, politely say, “No thank you!”
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” – Psalm 103:8
There it was … a beautiful, hand written thank you note. Delivered to my daughter on time, thoughtfully written… perfect.
It stirred in me emotions of guilt, frustration and served as a reminder of how far God has brought me once again.
I love thank you notes.
I used to REALLY love thank you notes.
Years ago I could have told you who “owed” me a thank you note…
Wow. How shallow! But it’s the truth. I did.
I never was one to GIVE to get something in return, and yet… for some reason I felt as though if someone didn’t write a timely, thoughtful, “Thank You”… well, they simply didn’t have a grateful heart.
My pride would swell as I made sure all of MY thank you notes would get out on time… never missing a beat in my organizational kingdom of artificial perfectionism.
As we added children, I made efforts to keep up my charade.
Over the past two or three years, lots of things have gotten fuzzy. Including who I needed to write a thank you note to, and for what.
“Did I write a thank you to that person??”
“Did I just THINK I wrote a thank you, and didn’t? Did I write them TWO instead? Oh where is that list…???”
“I really hope someone doesn’t think I’m ungrateful.”
Nothing like a little humble pie to help you realize how judgemental you have been. *gulp*
With our last child a friend gave me a baby gift, with a note that said…”Please do not write a thank you note for this gift, that is part of your present. I know you are thankful.”
Wow. Now that was thoughtful. Especially to someone with 8 small children, one of them being a new baby.
It seems some of the things we end up writing thank you notes for, can actually add stress to an already stressful, and busy time. Wanting to know someone received a gift is one thing… I get that. I just no longer assume someone isn’t grateful, or doesn’t prioritize well if I don’t EVER get a thank you note.
Maybe they are just busy serving God in other ways… and mean well? Just. Like. Me.
Honestly, I can’t even tell you if someone owed me a thank you any more. I couldn’t keep track of that if I wanted to.
I think that’s how you know you have a quiver full. Your heart is full… and your mind is over flowing. Pride and selfishness take a back seat to serving, teaching and serving some more.
I think God did that to me on purpose. [ Gee, you think? ] I’m so busy with little people and serving – that things, such as focusing on who owes me a thank you note for what – just never enters the radar.
We do require our kids to write thank you notes for gifts. I’m sure I’ve missed a few of those over the years too. (So if you’re reading this, and we’ve forgotten you – please, know we are still grateful and love you!) and Please accept my sincerest apologies!
The great news is … God doesn’t require a thank you note for what He has done for us…. for ALL He has given us. He doesn’t keep score either, like I often did.
Instead, He just asks that we have a grateful spirit. That we acknowledge our Maker. I think a GREAT “thank you” to God is just using what He has already given us. Our minds, our bodies… our Spirits – to serve and glorify Him!
How are those workouts coming? Have you checked out even those little 10 minute workouts? Praying you’re having a peaceful week before Christmas!
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful,
and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” – Hebrews 12:28
The Bible study group and I were on a mission about this time last year. We were coupon clippin’, Proverbs 31 crazies! NOT extreme couponers mind you, this wasn’t a full-time job for any of us… But striving to save our families money in some way, was part of the class. We wanted to be good stewards of what we had been given. I think we did a great job – we shared coupons, and shared savings info. I think some of it might have even stuck! A year later I’m still keeping on top of my coupons. (Although I did let a few slide before Thanksgiving – ouch!)
Well, because I had already done the Scale Down study, I was paying extra attention to those items in my cart… and obviously which items I needed coupons for. It doesn’t take long for one to realize that the cheapest processed food, is often the worst for you… and OFTEN times – they’re pushing coupons for that low quality food as well. That isn’t always the case – but it’s definitely the majority of food coupons. Sad isn’t it? That our society just perpetuates this poor nutrition and poor health… but coaxing you to buy MORE of it, just because you can buy it for less!
Even comparing lesser expensive store brands, with most name brand foods – you’ll discover their nutrition content is also less. This is very common at places like Mall-Wart.
Then there are the FREEBIES. Beware!!
Look! A coupon for a free “whatever new concoction that resembles food but won’t biodegrade for months if left out on the ground”… Don’t use it that COUPON!! Don’t fall for it!! What are they NOT telling you?
It’s FREE… but it’s garbage for your system!
This can possibly mess up your digestive system for the next week… or if you’re like me, the next month.
(When I used to struggle with IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] – all it took was something like a fast food meal, preservative, sauce or other mysterious ingredient to trip me up!)
Is it worth it?
Of course NOT!
Please. Don’t fall into their schemes – your health is worth so much MORE to Him! (and it should be worth more to YOU too!) Go with what you know to be True!
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
– 2 Thess. 2:3
** Side note – my friend let me in on a great coupon app, which searches for specific coupons in your area! Check it out: It’s just called “The Coupon App” (thanks Chrissy!)
Or the days seeming incredibly short lately? I mean, I know the daylight is shorter this time of year… but honestly, at about 5:30 pm – I feel like it’s midnight some days!
It’s not a wonder that a lot of people become depressed this time of year. It can ruin the fun to get out and about, but we must!! People are hacking everywhere you go, and the sun… well, when it’s out – it’s NOT for long! It’s extra important to move when you can – but if you’re tempted to NOT workout at night, get your move on while the sun is out and you FEEL like you’re alive. I know as the sun goes down – your metabolism and motivation can go right along with it!
I know I talk about my night work outs – but I will admit, it’s MUCH more difficult in the winter. It comes down to commitment for me… but if you’re still struggling – just be honest with yourself and God and make a commitment when the sun is out! (and no, that’s not a freebie to not workout when it’s a cloudy day… I *know* what you’re thinking…)
Speaking of winter, and depression… I was reading an article about the top 12 things that make some people happier than others… 3 of them were: Having a strong spiritual life, taking care of your body, and committing to your goals. Hmmm… that sounds familiar! That article even when on to suggest that exercising… YES… EXERCISING can be better medicine than Zoloft!
“Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.”
Maybe, just maybe… there is something to this exercise thing!
“But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.
Surely, LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.”
– Psalm 5:11-12
A few days ago, on a quick glance, I caught JJ Heller’s Facebook post about doing some 10 minute workout. For those of you who don’t know JJ’s music, and ministry – google that! [ my son and I were blessed with seeing her this summer] Recently, she had her 2nd child, so she is in the “attempting to exercise with two little ones to care for” phase. I was encouraged that with her schedule she was making time to make exercise a priority! GOOD for her!
She had posted a little blurb about the 10 minute workouts she was doing from a ministry – called “Revelation Wellness/Fitness”. The lady had some great short (10 minute) heart pumping workouts. I thought these might be good to share for those of you who travel, or have an iPad – or just to look for some different encouragement to mix things up. I like to add some of these throughout my day – when possible. OR, like last night… when I’m just cold and want to get my blood pumping – THIS will do it!
I appreciated the encouragement of her saying like, “dig deep, and do it for God… the calling is from Him to be healthy…” (THAT I don’t hear on Bob or Jillian…) Her tank top was also super cute – as it said, “Jesus is my Personal Trainer”. I just loved that. AMEN. What more reason do we need?
That’s the only way I can explain this calling of mine. When it’s 11pm and most people are thinking, “Yeah… I’m not working out today – scratch that!” I think… “Wow, I can’t say no to God now – I’ve made time for everything else… what a shame I waited so long – I can do SOMETHING, even if it’s not a full workout!” So I throw on my clothes and away I go! I always feel SO much better after I do that… knowing I moved, vs. NOT moving. The more days we move – vs. not – the more days we’re encouraged to move another day.
Personally I do like a day off now and then – no “set” day – but just a day that I know it’s ok if I don’t workout one day… What is that longest streak you’ve gone working out EACH day in a row? If you don’t know – maybe start NOW?
“You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
Whoooaaah. Slow down a minute.
I mean, I know it’s December – and [like every other month] it can be super hectic!
Buuut, let’s just recall for a moment who lets it get that way?
Christmas programs, parties, gifts to buy… people to see… family to please. The list goes on and on.
It can bog us down – to no end. (Especially if you’re not exercising or eating right – so this is your friendly reminder of all of the reasons to STAY on track!)
We are doing a Jesse tree this year… It’s something I’ve wanted to do for Advent for about 5 years, and I just haven’t made it a priority. Hey, I’m just being honest – because that’s the Truth really… I mean, I have OTHER excuses – but ultimately it was because I didn’t MAKE it happen, and put it at the top of my list.
Shame on me.
It’s the little things now and then that we do that make us feel like we really ARE making progress in life, vs. standing still with a crazy life moving all around us. Finally doing the Jesse tree made me feel like I made some progress!
I just wanted us to stop and take a moment to think about when we hear God. Is it in the busy times … the go, go, go? Or can we even HEAR Him during those times? I mean, sure you’re doing a quick devotional here, thanking Him for your food there…
Are you able to SIT in quiet? And think? Pray? Listen…
What is God telling you?
Several ago when my mom was sick with her cancer, I spent a lot of time on the phone with her. Time I’ll never regret because I know it was medicine for her, and it was healing for our relationship. But at the time, it was taking a lot of my “free time” at a time that I didn’t have any free time. Balls in my life were falling all over the place – as I struggled to juggle them all.
Something had. to. give.
So I prayed. Lord, WHAT do I need to do?
I specifically remember feeling so guilty about giving up the Christmas program for our kids. I thought some how I was letting God down, or the kids down, or the church down, if we didn’t participate.
Yep. I really thought that. I over analyzed what everyone else was thinking if we didn’t participate too. (As if they were in the equation of what was going on in my heart – and in our family?) Then, it was as if God just spoke right to my heart.
In the calmness of the time with Him, He said, “It’s ok, just let it go – spend time with Me, and make time for your Mom.”
Just like that. He let me know that, while those things are nice – they aren’t what “makes” the season of celebrating Jesus’ birth. [We could get rid of about 90% of the other stuff and then MAYBE we’d have a celebration worth giving Him glory.]
But for me, at that time – it was a huge answer to prayer! It empowered me to no longer feel guilt about things that we weren’t called to at that time. We aren’t “here” to please others – and we need not put that guilt on ourselves, when we not purposefully trying to be upsetting. It’s not healthy!
Now, I still have plenty of other things I over analyze – don’t worry, I’m not perfect!! But He has made so much progress in the way of NOT sweating the little things, for the sake of “people pleasing”. If it’s not in His timing, or best for our family at “this time” – then we simply don’t do it.
We have to keep our health at the top of priorities, even in the busy seasons of life (and this includes STRESS!!) – or it will QUICKLY slip to the bottom of the list. But who would let that happen?
Again… it’s YOU.
Pray and prioritize the way God’s word says we should. What do you need to let go of?
Don’t let your food choices and exercise go by the wayside for the sake of “too busy” and “not enough time” – adjust your schedule, even NOW to put Him first! After all, this season is about HIM!
This week’s Advent theme is PEACE. May His peace be with you.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?
If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10